He’s back! Or at least he would be if he got the chance. The Right Honorable Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Great Britain is in London for the Olympics and hinting that he wouldn’t mind another crack at the job.
As if he didn’t have enough on his plate with his role as Peace Envoy for the Middle East Quartet, and his lucrative commercial consultancy Tony Blair Associates, whose clients include oil-rich autocrats and dictators such as President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan (where political activists are routinely tortured and security forces recently slaughtered 14 striking oil workers). Speaking of his resignation as Britain’s Prime Minister 5 years ago, the Catholic-converted multimillionaire told the Evening Standard:
“I didn’t want to go but I felt that I had to. The only choice would have been to have fought a very bloody battle internally which I thought would damage the country as well as the party. I was forced out. “
But Tony has done pretty well for himself since then. As well as jobs advising JP Morgan, the US bank, and Zurich Financial Services, the Swiss insurer, Blair has set up two major international charities, the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Labour Party leader pal Ed Miliband recently visited oil-rich Sudan as a representative for the AGI and shortly after Blair was hired as an adviser by the country’s president, Salva Kiir. Since then Ed’s hired Tony as the Labour Party’s ‘Olympic legacy adviser’. “You scratch my back…”
Tony’s been high-profile this week, pressing palms with American Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney while on a visit to London building up his foreign policy credentials, having lunch with the Queen at his old home in Downing Street, now occupied by close friend and current PM David Cameron, and discussing ‘Religion in Public Life’ in a debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Faith Debate in Westminster Hall.
Tony sees himself as rather an expert on religion, what with his Tony Blair Faith Foundation and his luxurious ‘home’ in Jerusalem in which he stays a week every month. While Prime Minister he avoided avoided talking about his religious beliefs for fear of being labelled a “nutter”, but now you can’t shut him up. Saying that he has “always been more interested in religion than politics”, and talking about his belief in the resurrection and “salvation through Jesus Christ”, he said:
“I don’t think there should be any restraint on religious people putting forward their view and saying ‘I’m doing this because I actually believe it to be part of my religious belief’. I think they are absolutely entitled to do that. But the quality of the discourse and the way in which it is conducted is really, really important.”
He admitted that, while leader of the opposition, he had forced reluctant aides to take part in an impromptu prayer ceremony.
“I remember the Salvation Army coming to see me when I was leader of the opposition. At the end of it, she said: ‘We’re all going to kneel in prayer’. There were two members of my office, who should remain nameless, who looked aghast. I said: ‘You’ll have to get on your knees’. One of them said: ‘For God’s sake!’ and I said: ‘Exactly'”.
However, Blair denied persistent reports that he had prayed for God’s guidance with former US President George Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, in 2002, before reaching a decision to invade Iraq, but added that it would “not have been wrong to do so.”
Wouldn’t it, Tony? For someone who claims to be such a fan of Jesus, have you actually read the words of the man himself on the subject of prayer? As a regular, ostentatious, church-goer, who was nicknamed the “vicar of St. Albion” by satirical weekly Private Eye, probably not.
Although Jesus’ advice on prayer is easy enough to find in ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ in the New Testament, it is rarely if ever read aloud in church. If enough ‘Christians’ got wind of it and followed his advice – “Don’t pray in public” – the Church would soon be bankrupt, and the Pope, for one, would be out of a job.
Here’s what Jesus had to say.
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.”
Perhaps ye have need of a good spanking from our Father, brother Blair, thou Mammon-serving, blood-soaked hypocritical war-criminal!
Michael Dickinson can be contacted at his website: http://yabanji.tripod.com/